William Faulkner's novel Pylon was optioned by Universal producer Albert Zugsmith, who used it as the source for his 1957 production The Tarnished Angels. Robert Stack is a disillusioned World War One ace eking out a living as a barnstorming pilot/parachutist during the early 1930s. New Orleans newspaperman Rock Hudson runs across Stack at a two-bit carnival. He becomes fascinated with Stack's fall from grace, and latches onto him. As he is drawn into Stack's iconoclastic, individualistic lifestyle, Hudson finds he is also drawn to the pilot's long-suffering wife, Dorothy Malone. Jack Carson is on hand as Stack's chief mechanic, whose anger over the pilot's abusive treatment of Malone explodes into tragedy.